While I only spent about 16 hours in Cairo, I took plenty of photos and have a few tips for anyone who might be in a similar situation as I was: having an extended, overnight EgyptAir layover in Cairo.
First, these are some of the favorite photos I took while being in Cairo. I only had time to do one thing, so I, of course, chose the Great Pyramids.
So for my tips: I basically dropped like $250 in 16 hours in Cairo because I pretty much got tricked into thinking that it was “impossible” to walk to the pyramids from the entrance to the monument. Everybody was walking and it is more than doable, even in the hot summer of Cairo where it was well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Just bring a big water and it should be manageable for most people. The monument costs about $4 so it would’ve saved me quite a bit, obviously.
What they told me was that I needed to take either a horse or a camel into the monument if I wanted to see anything so late in the day (it was about 3 PM). After telling them that I cannot due to allergies, they said I could take a horse drawn carriage for the same, low price of about $150. After considering what I thought were my two options of either spending $150 for the pyramids or not seeing them at all, I decided to pay for it. Once realizing that I was very able to, I was of course frustrated (I was also having an allergic reaction to the horse, as I said I would).
The other $100 was less of a trick, as they gave me a quad bike to drive up to the sand dunes surrounding the pyramids to watch the sunset over the monument. This wasn’t walkable and the sunset over the pyramids was beautiful. If I could go back, I don’t think I would do this experience solely because I do not have the budget to be dropping $100 on a sunset, and could’ve easily watched it from a rooftop bar or something, but it was better than the horse experience.
If you find yourself on a layover with EgyptAir, go to the EgyptAir counter before customs in the Cairo Airport. If you have an overnight layover with them (I was flying Dar es Salaam to Cairo and then the next morning Cairo to Madrid, both with EgyptAir), they offer you a free room in the hotel next to the airport. In addition, they offer a tour to the pyramids for $60. I wish I did this option. I can almost guarantee you won’t be able to do it cheaper than this. This is because with this option, you don’t need to purchase the tourist visa ($25), you don’t have to pay for cabs from the airport ($10 each way, I thought there was a bus based on research, there didn’t seem to be a bus), and the ticket entrance to the pyramids is $4. That’s already $49 and you still have to pay for a bed somewhere, transportation to and from the pyramids, and I can guarantee that won’t be less than $11. So if money is the main concern, even if you were like me and thought $60 is a lot, everything is going to add up. (I was also tired after my flight and didn’t totally think all this through).
Despite the frustrations that Cairo had, I still really enjoyed it. I will absolutely be returning to Egypt one day to give it enough time to do it justice. Next time, I’ll just know how to do things within a budget.